Clifton Park author releases new book

CLIFTON PARK — Janine De Tillio Cammarata, local author and president of Nick’s Fight to be Healed Foundation, is no stranger to writing about tough topics.

But with her latest book, she’s taking them on in a new way.

“The Puzzle Quests: Shimmer’s Eggs,” is the first book in a middle-grade fantasy series and the newest of several books Cammarata has published.

Successful Elementary School Writing Class at Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library

Janine has been teaching at the library for the last 5 years. Her latest workshop with kids grades 3-5 focused on creating characters in order to write a story. In this workshop, Cammarata gives the kids the freedom and flexibility to write about anything they want.

Topics and characters ranged from an army dog afraid to let his buds know he likes to cook, a girl being bullied, another girl misunderstood because she has Diabetes, and a dog's stuggle with a parrot, plus many more.

More classes are being taught in January, so check out her event page.

Cammarata Presents at The College of New Jersey

On February 8, 2014, Janine De Tillio Cammarata visited students at The College of New Jersey to  speak about The Power of Giving and How it Transforms Us. She shared the story of her son, Nick, and the other young adults featured in her book, What Makes Them Amazing. Her message of giving back despite tragedies in our lives resonated with the college students who attended. Many shared their stories or appreciated her perspective on how she dealt with the loss of her son.

This presentation was organized by Brianna Dioses who is a Freshman at the college and a member of the Freshman Class Council. This council, in addition to WILL (Women in Learning and Leadership), and Colleges Against Cancer sponsored the event.

Cammarata sold copies of her books What Makes Them Amazing and Eyes of the Goddess: Book Two of the Fianna Cycle. Each participant received a complimentary copy of her first book in the Fianna Cycle, Warriors Within.

Supporting LLS at The Purple Tie Affair

Janine and her husband, Lucas, attended the inaugural Purple Tie Affair on Saturday, January 18, 2014. It was at the Dance Museum in Saratoga and proceeds supported the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  Cammarata raised awareness about young adults battling cancer while signing copies of her book What Makes Them Amazing: Inspiring Stories of Young Adults Fighting Cancer.

Posters of the young adults adorned the halls and entrances to the event. This event was organized by an incredible group of volunteers who have been involved with the LLS Team in Training (TNT) program for a number of years. Cammarata has run in the event in honor of her son, Nick, and became involved in the Purple Tie Affair through her connection with Michael Miller, one of the organizers. 

Michael and Janine met through their participation in their student government when they both attended The College of Saint Rose. Michael recognized her son, Nick, when he ran during his training. Photos of children battilng cancer line the paths where member of TNT train. It's a reminder that motivates them to not give up. 

The Purple Tie Affair was a huge success, not only because of attendance and money raised, but because of the camaraderie that was shared throughout the evening. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet families with children battling cancer, as well as survivors. It's great to know they don't have to travel this journey alone.



Cammarata visits her Alma Mater to talk about The Power of Giving and How it Transforms Us

On October 4, 2013, Janine De Tillio Cammarata spoke at the Massry Center for the Arts at The College of Saint Rose. Cammarata has a BA and MA in English Literature from the college. She spoke to a group of students about the power of giving and how it can transform you as a person. As examples, she spoke about the nine young adults featured in her non-fiction book titled What Makes Them Amazing: Inspiring Stories of Young Adults Fighting Cancer. Even the smallest contribution such as visiting a friend in the hospital, sending a text, making a small donation, or sponsoring a blood drive can have a huge impact. The night was extra special as her two nephews attended the event. Sal De Tillio is a graduate of St. Rose with a degree in Music Industries and his younger brother, Joseph is a Freshman at the school in the same line of study.

What's Being Said?

  • Adult Writing Workshop Reviews

    "Through this class I was finally able to complete something that I am confident about."

    "It bumped my thinking from left-brain to right-brain--a whole new mind!"


  • Adult Writing Workshop Review

    "This well-thought-out course covered the essentials of creative writing in a logical progression. Class discussion and activities as well as assignments were thought-provoking and stimulating."


  • Adult Writing Workshop Reviews

    "Through this class I was finally able to complete something that I am confident about."

    "It bumped my thinking from left-brain to right-brain--a whole new mind!"


  • Adult Writing Workshop Reviews

    "Through this class I was finally able to complete something that I am confident about."

    "It bumped my thinking from left-brain to right-brain--a whole new mind!"


  • "I loved learning about the Celtic lore that is written about in this book! Can't wait to read the next one :)"


  • "I just wanted to let you know that I loved your book. I have been an avid reader of fantasy based novels or most of my life and I found this one refreshing and highly engaging. I truly hope there will be a few more books in this cycle. Thanks!"


  • "Eyes of the Goddess, Book Two of the Fianna Cycle, takes up where Warriors Within left off. Present-day New York City is entwined with 3rd century Ireland by their respective inhabitants, Michaela Sommers and Maecha Ruadh Mac Art, heiress to the throne of Tara. Michaela is involved in a search for the drug lord who killed her father, Police Narcotics Officer Jack Sommers, while Maecha is about to embark on a voyage to Alba (ancient Scotland) to free her father, King Cormac, who had been kidnapped by the Picts. The two worlds are connected by the dream travel of Michaela, the chief druid Finnius Amergin, and Natalie, a child who exists in NYC but is destined to save ancient Ireland from ruin. Cammarata's keen knowledge of Celtic lore and skill in martial arts combine to create an exciting story of ancient battles, gods and magic, honor, loyalty and love. Young adults who love a good adventure story will certainly love this one. While Eyes of the Goddess can be read as a stand-alone, readers will want to start with Warriors Within to experience the full epic tale."

    Joan Weiskotten

    Young Adult Librarian
    Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library

  • "The girls' best treat yesterday (Halloween) was picking up their personalized copy of Shimmer's Eggs from our favorite author! The girls were beta readers a couple of years ago before it went to press!

    Time travel, enduring friendships, and persevering during hard times...this book is best for midde elementary aged readers...but I loved it too! Heart-warming, an adventure-filled story about childhood bonds that wishstand place and time!"


  • "Your book is excellent – a picture of Celtic landscape and adventure remained in my mind long after I completed the novel - I am looking forward to your sequel!"


  • "I usually read mysteries or non fiction. Every once in a while I like to try something different. If you like J.R.R. Tolkien or the Chronicles of Narnia this is a good fit. I enjoyed the story line and the character development. I wonder if and when book 2 will be available?"


  • "I bought The Warrior Within at a fundraiser although it was not the type of book I usually purchase. I have been missing out..! I was immediately hooked and disappointed that it took so long for Eyes of the Goddess to be published. Please know that I purchased Eyes of the Goddess through Amazon and appreciate how quickly it was delivered. I am amazed a the skill of the author in being able to transition from the present to the past without losing the reader in the process. I love the Celtic aspect and the storyline continues to keep me addicted to this trilogy. I am eagerly waiting for the next (and unfortunately the last) book to be published. A whole new world of books has been opened to me though my initial purchase of The Warrior Within"

    Ann Frantti

  • Adult Journaling Workshop Reviews

    "Being able to take time to journal and focus on myself has been an incredible experience."

     The Writer's Journal School Program

    “Janine Cammarata, a natural teacher of her craft, is able to ignite a spark even in your most reluctant writer!” 

    --Marcy Philo, 4th grade teacher, Karigon Elementary School, Clifton Park, NY



    "Thank you so much for visiting! My kids truly enjoyed your lesson. I've never had so much fun or participation during an author visit. We were all excited to continue working on our pieces!"

    --Shannon Race, 4th grade teacher, Karigon Elementary School, Clifton Park, NY

  • "I SO enjoyed your work, I didn’t want to put it down, and then didn’t want it to end. I am very excited for the next book in the series, to continue my adventure with the sisters."


  • "The Puzzle Quests: Shimmer's Eggs is amazing. Haven't been able to put it down. What a wonderful magical adventure!!"


  • The Puzzle Quests: Shimmer's Eggs
    by Janine De Tillio Cammarata
    Highland Mountain Publishing

    "'What is the quest?' Luke asked, not getting pulled into the excitement of an adventure, even if that was what he had just been hoping for."

    Luke is an active 11-year-old who loves to swim—until one day he is sidelined with an illness that has him bedridden in the hospital. His family, including his brother, Peter, would do anything for Luke to get better. One day, upon waking in the hospital, Luke finds a puzzle next to his bed. Thinking it is a gift from a family member, he and Peter put the puzzle together. But this is no ordinary puzzle. Placing the final puzzle piece brings the puzzle to life and transports Luke and Peter into a medieval world of dragons and knights. A princess named Meriwether needs their help and in exchange will grant them each a wish. Longing for his brother to get better, Peter agrees, and Luke is excited about an adventure away from his hospital room.

    The brothers take a journey to a faraway magical land where they must help Meriwether’s dragon, Shimmer, find all her stolen eggs. But that will prove to be more challenging than either brother thought. Each adventure leads them closer to their goal, and they even bring along their best friends, Mark and Rose. But will they find all the eggs in time? Will they get their wish? Will Luke get better and be able to leave the hospital?

    Cammarata has a vision for medieval worlds and dragons and delightfully portrays that world for young readers. This book is perfectly matched to the minds of 8-12-year-olds and will captivate both boys and girls alike. There are adventures, dragons, knights, kings, and princesses, all twisted together in a beautifully told story of hope and determination. It is a tale of adventure and love.

    RECOMMENDED by the US Review


    "Cammarata's action packed storytelling never lets up. The urgency of the pacing draws the reader into Maecha's world quickly, but it is the fierceness of her loyalty and love that defines the narrative. Well-developed details ground the magical elements and make a world where people time travel in their dreams and are friends with gods believable. Jumping from the ancient past to modern day is at first jarring, but as the characters' lives weave together, their complicated relationships deepen the meaning of the story and give it a powerful sense of destiny fulfilled. "

    The US Review of Books

Events & Workshops


    Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library

    TUESDAY,  January 15 from 6:00-8:00 PM

    For teens in grades 6 to 12 or home school equivalent.

    Are you a teen writer, but need a little advice on where to take your next story? Do you have a great idea for our Teen Winter Writing Contest but don’t know how to get started? Prose or poetry writers are welcome! Register to bounce your ideas off of your peers and author Janine De Tillio Cammarata in this writing workshop!

    Bring a notebook and an essay that you are working on (optional). Please register to attend.

    Register Here




    MONDAYS: January 14, 28, February 4,11, 25 from 4:15-5:15pm

    3-5th grade

    Janine De Tillio Cammarata will share different techniques to gather ideas and write stories. Includes writing prompts and journaling. All levels welcome. Everyone is encouraged to bring a current story to work on. 



    Rose and her growing band of knights get the chance to save Atlantis during their next puzzle quest. When Rose attempts to save this world on her own, her team is thrown into danger and the safety of Atlantis and her friendships are compromised. Will Rose see the value of working as a team before she is trapped in Dragonia forever?

    Saving Atlantis is the second book in The Puzzle Quests’ series of adventures that span across time and generations. No matter where you are, there is hope.


    Ages 8-12



    Book Events:

    The Writer's Journal: School Writing Program
    Waterford-Halfmoon School
    Grades 7-8
    December 17, 18, 19
    The Writer's Journal: School Writing Program
    Blue Creek Elementary School
    Grade 6
    January 16 & 17
    Northshire Bookstore Saratoga
    Saturday, February 16, 2019 from 1-2:30pm
    1-1:30pm collaborative writing event
    1:30-2:30pm chat and book signing
    If you would like me to come to your school or bookstore for a writing workshop or book signing, please contact me!



    Please register for each workshop separately. It helps the library with set up:

    WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 9, 2019 - Piracci Board Room

    WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2019 - Piracci Board Room

    WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13 - Piracci Board Room

    WEDNESAY, APRIL 3 - Piracci Board Room

    Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library from 6:30-8:30pm

    Adults 18+

    Whether it's in a notebook, blog, or sketchpad journaling can help you lead a whole and fulfilling life. It's a way to keep track of goals, life activities, dreams, and is very fun! Learn the many ways to express yourself! Each workshop will be different so come to them all!

    Bring your own journal! We have the rest!